Participate in a research project
High quality research is essential to enable better understanding of autism and to develop improved supports in the future.
Why should you get involved?
Researchers are always looking for participants for their projects – the more participants, the greater the chances of meaningful results that reflect the wide range of issues that people on the autism spectrum and their families face. So get involved where you can – it will help improve their knowledge and it may benefit you!
Disclaimer: Autism Queensland aims to support research that promises to inform future directions of services for individuals on the spectrum and their families. Although we screen each project before advertising, we do not necessarily endorse the views, activities or organisations of researchers.
Projects seeking participants
Contact details of all researchers are provided for each of our projects. If you are interested in participating in a study please click on those of the following you believe will be of interest. This list is updated regularly and includes research being undertaken externally and by Autism Queensland.
Aspirations Through Time: The Year 10 transition planning experience of Queensland students on the autism spectrum
- Students who will be in Year 10 in 2021 in a mainstream school in Queensland and who are on the autism spectrum.
- Their parent/caregivers
- A staff member in their school – note that school staff will only be contacted with the family’s permission.
In Australia, young people on the autism spectrum often experience higher unemployment rates and lower educational achievement than their peers. The purpose of this longitudinal case study is to investigate the transition planning experiences of students on the autism spectrum during senior schooling in Queensland. Students will be asked to complete career planning activities/interview and questionnaires, while parents and school staff will be interviewed.
Benefit to participants:
It is hoped that this study will provide important insights on how to better support the transition planning for students on the spectrum. In turn, this may lead to more positive long-term outcomes for young people on the autism spectrum. Students who choose to participate will receive a $15 voucher for each interview.
Prof Linda Graham
P. 07 3138 3738
The Australian Autism Biobank Study
- Children aged 2-17 years who are on the Autism Spectrum and their siblings.
- Children aged 2-17 years with no diagnosis of Autism Spectrum in the Family as our Control population.
The Australian Autism Biobank Study is now recruiting families who may be interested in participating. The biobank is a National Study and in Queensland is a joint partnership between the Autism CRC, Mater Research Institute and Children’s Health Queensland. The aim of the biobank is to collect detailed information on Australian children with autism and their families.
Participation in the study involves the completion of questionnaires about the child and family, a clinical assessment where the child is asked to participate in various child-friendly games and activities, and the collection of biological samples, including a blood sample, from the child and their family.
Benefit to participants:
While families may not benefit directly from this study, this data will be used to facilitate our understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as well as for earlier and more accurate diagnosis of ASD in children.
The creation of the Australian Autism Biobank is likely to make a significant contribution to the understanding of ASD etiology. A clearer understanding of the range of genetic and environmental variations that contribute to the occurrence of ASD may provide added insight into the regulation of brain development, which, in turn may open up opportunities for developing more effective treatment of the condition. Significant developments in our understanding of what causes ASD can only be made by studying large numbers of affected individuals. The creation of the Australian Autism Biobank is an essential first step in obtaining sufficient data, which may eventually lead to significant gains in our knowledge of how to identify, diagnose and treat people with ASD.
Please visit the Biobank website for more information.
To participate in the Queensland site of the Australian Autism Biobank, or for more information about this study, please contact the Autism Biobank Research Team:
P. 0435 860 506
Combined Gut-brain Treatment for Children with Autism
Children with autism and gut issues, aged 5-10 years.
Description of Project:
Background: Children with autism are four (4) times more likely to suffer with gut issues (tummy and bowel problems) than children without autism. Research has linked both gut issues and autism to changes within the two-way communication network called the gut-brain axis. Gut issues are also linked to increased severity of autistic behaviours and independently to anxiety/depression.
Aim: To reduce gut issues in children with autism, with possible improvements in autism severity and anxiety scores.
Study Design: This study is a randomised clinical trial. If your child is enrolled, they will be randomly allocated to one of two 12-week treatment intervention groups:
1) synbiotic (prebiotic + probiotic supplement) or 2) synbiotic + home-based therapy program.
You and your child will be required to complete questionnaires and stool samples at the start and end of the 12-week period. There will also be a follow-up at week 24 to assess if any improvements have been maintained.
Benefits to Participants:
We cannot promise your child will receive a benefit from participating in this study. The main potential benefit from this study is reduced tummy/bowel symptoms and/or improved stool consistency. Other possible benefits include improved balance of “good” and “bad” gut bacteria, reduced anxiety/stress levels and reduced autism severity scores.
P. 0414 689 850
This research is part of the Doctoral degree of Mrs Leanne Mitchell (Principal Investigator) and is sponsored by the University of Queensland.
Coping Strategies used by Adolescents with Autism
Adolescents with autism will be asked to complete an online survey asking about coping strategies used, life events experienced in the past year (good and bad), and their current anxiety and depression symptoms.
Parents of adolescents with autism will be asked to complete an online survey about their child’s autism and depression symptoms. Teachers of adolescents with autism will be asked to complete an online survey about their student’s depression symptoms.
We do not have a good understanding of how people with autism cope with life events (both good and bad). This means that helpers (e.g., counsellors, psychologists) may not know what strategies are useful or not useful to suggest when young people with autism are going through difficult times.
A link for adolescents to complete their survey separately will be emailed after their parent submits their survey responses.
Benefit to participants:
By participating in this study, we will gain a better understanding of the most common ways of coping that young people with autism use. This information can be shared with helpers so that they can provide effective strategies and interventions when young people with autism are feeling worried, sad or anxious.
Dr Nerelie Freeman
P. (03) 9905-4391
Do actions speak louder than words? Parent perspectives on when gesture helps or hinders learning and outcomes for children with autism
Parents of children (aged 5-12 years old) with or without autism.
Children on the autism spectrum often perform academically lower than their IQ matched peers, but to date, no research explains why this is. We know that gestures benefit learning in typically developing children, and emerging evidence suggests that gestures may also benefit learning in children on the autism spectrum. What is less understood, however, is when gestures benefit learning in children on the autism spectrum most. In this study, we would like to ask parents of children on the autism spectrum and parents of typically developing children for their perspectives on whether, when, and how gestures benefit their child’s learning. Results will guide research into gesture-based interventions that may enhance academic achievement in children on the autism spectrum.
There are 2 stages to this study:
1) Completion of online questionnaires; and
2) Completion of an online interview conducted over zoom, lasting up to 1-hour.
If you decide to take part in the interview, you will be asked questions about your perspectives on a) whether gestures are beneficial to your child’s learning and understanding, b) when you perceive gestures to be beneficial to your child’s learning and understanding, and c) how you think gestures benefit your child’s learning and understanding.
Benefit to participants:
Our findings will be circulated via a brief summary on social media and an overall summary feedback report will be emailed to you. If you wish to receive copies of any academic publications arising from the project, you may email the project coordinator and request to be sent a copy of the publication(s) when they are available.
Dr Nicole Dargue
P. 07 3382 1515
ENACT: Environmental Enrichment for infants: parenting with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
We are looking to recruit pregnant women who have an older child diagnosed with ASD or either parent is diagnosed with ASD. This is so that the intervention can commence antenatally or very early in the neonatal period.
For participants to be included in this study they must meet the following inclusion criteria:
(1) the infant’s mother must agree to the assessment requirements of the study;
(2) the infant must have one or more biological siblings diagnosed with ASD, or a biological parent (mother or father) diagnosed with ASD; and
(3) As ENACT uses integrated web-based delivery, parents are required to have reliable internet access at home (e.g. ADSL) and must be committed to maintaining internet access for the duration of the study.
The study will exclude potential participants in the case of:
(1) the parents having insufficient English to complete the assessment requirements; or
(2) families who identify at recruitment that they are unwilling to return for the outcome assessments at 6 months and 12 months of age.
(3) infants with a known chromosomal or neurological condition prior to study enrolment
Background: Infant siblings of older children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are at an increased risk of a diagnosis of ASD. From 6-12 months of age there are prodromal symptoms of ASD in the domains of motor skills, motor planning, visual attention, visual perception and affect regulation. This can impact on parent-infant interaction and language, social and cognitive development. In addition, mothers of infants at risk of ASD are at risk of poorer mental health when compared to the general population due to the complexity of managing ASD. Currently, there are no trials that have been conducted with infants at risk of ASD younger than six months of age.
Aims: The aim of this research is to test the efficacy of an innovative early intervention, ENACT, for families of infants at risk of ASD through a randomised controlled trial with ENACT compared to care as usual, and testing the effect of the intervention in improving the parent-child relationship and infant developmental outcomes.
Benefits to Participants:
There are currently no evidence-based interventions available to parent of infants younger than 6 months of age who are at risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Families who are randomised to the intervention group will get early access to a novel intervention program that aims to enrich the life of their family. Parents will also play a role in refining the content of the program. All families will get comprehensive developmental assessments at the conclusion of the study, when their baby is 12 months old. Families will receive a copy of this report.
For more information:
Miss Kavindri Kulasinghe or Dr Andrea McGlade
(07) 3069 7547 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MIND the Vax Gap
Parents of children:
- aged under 18 years
- who have a diagnosis of autism
Description of project:
We know that getting children vaccinated may not always be easy, and many factors can affect parents’ decisions about vaccination.
In this project, we want to learn more about what factors affect vaccine uptake for children diagnosed with autism and their siblings. We also want to find out what concerns parents might have about getting their children vaccinated.
We hope this information will help us develop better ways to support parents to make their vaccination decisions and access vaccination services more easily.
As a parent of a child with autism, you will be asked to:
- Complete one 10-15 minute online survey
OPTIONAL: participate in one interview
Benefit to participants:
Our aim is to gain a better understanding of the vaccination views and experiences of parents of children with autism. We hope to use this information to design resources and strategies to make it easier for immunisation providers to support parents of children with autism in Australia. We are doing this study for research purposes. This means that the study will not directly benefit you or your child. If you complete the survey, you will go into the draw to win a $75 gift card.
Dr Jessica Kaufman
P. (03) 9345 4890
Personal safety at home and in the community: comparing the experiences of Autistic and non-Autistic adults
You are eligible to participate in this study if you:
- are aged 18 or over
- have not been diagnosed with an intellectual disability or any severe mental illness (i.e. schizophrenia or other delusional disorder or Bipolar disorder)
You don’t need to have experienced abuse or victimisation to participate in this study
Description of project:
We are looking at how often, and in what contexts, adults on the autism spectrum experience abuse and victimisation compared to adults who are not on the autism spectrum. We want to identify what might put people at risk, or protect them. We are also interested in the experiences of adults on the autism spectrum who have reported any incidents of abuse or victimisation to police. You do not need to have experienced abuse or victimisation to participate in this study.
If you decide to take part, we will ask you to complete a survey about your background, any experiences of abuse or victimisation since the age of 15 and your social and emotional functioning. The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. All survey participants will receive a $15 AUD e-gift voucher.
Adults on the autism spectrum living in Australia who complete the survey and who have reported experiencing abuse or victimisation will be invited to take part in an interview at a mutually convenient time, by phone, online meeting such as Zoom or Facetime, or via email.
The interview will take about one hour and participants will receive a $30 gift voucher.
Benefits to participants:
All survey participants will receive a $15 AUD e-gift voucher. Interview participants will receive a $30 gift voucher
Further information about the project can be found by contacting Vicki Gibbs email@example.com or by clicking the link below: